It seems that winter is being pretty cold all over the U.S., so this cold-themed DC villain roster is even more appropriate, and this time we’re covering Captain Cold. Leader of The Flash’s Rogues Gallery and wielder of a gun that chills things to absolute zero. How does a career criminal come into the possession of such technology and get a lofty position in a criminal organization? Let’s find out.
Leonard Snart was from an abusive household and found refuge hanging out with his grandfather who drove an ice truck
because comics aren’t subtle. When he was old enough, Leonard struck out on his own and eventually turned to crime to survive. The gang he joined used snow blind protection glasses as both a disguise and to protect their eyes from the flash of their guns. Their crew was short lived as the Flash was able to easily stop them. When out of jail, Leonard learned of a theoretical cyclotron that could stop the Flash and went out and stole it. It was a gun that could freeze things it hit to absolute zero in temperature. Those snow blind protective glasses Leonard still had turned out to really help with the flash from his new gun, and taking a parka he decided to start a new life as Captain Cold.
Freezing the Flash’s city and citizens into blocks of ice (which is somehow nonlethal even though it’s explicitly stated as putting things at absolute zero, comics are wild) will tend to get you attention, especially the Flash’s. Freezing the Flash would slow him down, though he’d tend to vibrate right through the ice and still be able to stop Leonard. Leonard would be one of several recurring super criminals that faced the Flash on a regular basis, befriending one another in prison. Gorilla Grodd would break them out, and soon they’d start to meet up with one another and realize they could organize into a group called the Rogues. Together, these criminals would do their best to beat out the Flash in stopping them from gaining wealth through crime. Leonard would take the lead of the Rogues when Grodd returned to Gorilla City since he’d been the most regimented with his own code of honor that included only killing when absolutely necessary.
The Rogues and Flash almost had a playful back and forth in their early days against one another. The Rogues would do their weird gimmicks to mess with Flash, and he’d find ways of beating them. Leonard and the rest of the Rogues would become good friends and often just hang out together, playing poker in costume, because why not? This idyllic back and forth couldn’t last forever, and when the Top was killed by injuries from a battle with the Flash, it’s revealed that Leonard’s sister, Lisa, was dating the Top and desired vengeance on the Flash. Lisa becomes the Golden Glider (she was a world-class ice skater) and eventually joins the Rogues along with her brother.
Though he was proud of his sister’s new career as a Rogue, the death of the Flash Barry Allen led to him growing tired of the game, and he talked Lisa into leaving crime behind with him to try and go legit by becoming bounty hunters, the Golden Snowball Recoveries. They do very well for themselves and help take in some of the nastier criminals in the country. This wouldn’t last, though, and Leonard went back to fighting crime, and eventually sold his soul to the demon Neron to gain more power. The Flash was able to return Leonard his soul, which was a mixed blessing since he lost his extra power. Wally West had become the Flash, and since Leonard had been bounty hunting during the time that Barry Allen had died, and his sidekick had taken on the mantle of the Flash, he decided this kid needed some Cold in his life.
At one point, it looked as though Leonard had been killed. Lisa was distraught and took his cold gun and the name Chillblaine for a more brutal career in crime. Unfortunately, there already was a Chillblaine running around, and he was not pleased with someone trying to take his name, so he murdered Lisa. Leonard had been dealing with his demonic powers at this time, and when he returned to being a human with a soul-filling, he found out that Lisa was dead. Enraged, Leonard took his gun back and froze the skin of Chillblaine, then threw him from a building.
Leonard and the Flash would team up on occasion to stop some other villains or Rogues who were getting out of hand. Leonard was the leader of the Rogues and couldn’t abide such trouble makers. His new Rogues team had many new versions of his old friends’ gimmicks. One was the son of the old Captain Boomerang whom Leonard became the mentor of. Rumor had it that this new Captain Boomerang may have been the son of Lisa as well, but it turned out he was actually related to the Flash family. Leonard’s relationship with the criminal community was that of a mentor or friend, while an honorable thief. When it came to tragedies the heroes felt he’d be one of the first to send his regards. Since he wasn’t known for killing heroes or even that many villains, his condolences would be taken begrudgingly.
When the speedster villain Inertia arrives offering to aid the Rogues in getting rid of the new Flash, who was Bart Allen at this time (there’s a lot of Flashes, everyone), Leonard and the others unite to kill the Flash. Upon realizing they have killed such a young man, Leonard is one of the Rogues to feel regret for what they have done. The Rogues temporarily join the Secret Society of Super Villains, but grow tired of its leader Libra’s plots, and soon Leonard leads them back out. Upon leaving they learn that Barry Allen is back from the dead and must grow the number of their ranks. During the events of the Darkest Night, Leonard is confronted by Lisa as a Black Lantern and must control his feelings so he is not killed and can freeze her. When Barry Allen accidentally creates an alternate reality without a Flash, it turns out that Leonard is a superhero named Citizen Cold.
In the New 52 Leonard has no need for a cold gun, instead able to generate the cold from within himself, often leaving his arms sheathed in ice. When an EMP blackout occurs, which many believe the Flash is the cause of though he is not, the hospital holding his deathly ill sister loses power, and the experimental treatment she was undertaking kills her in the process. Leonard is now ready to kill the Flash if it is the last thing he does.
Pretty cool, huh, folks? A chilling villain with a gun that can stop your molecules from even moving! How slick is that? Well I hope you had fun learning about one of the Flash’s most cold-hearted Rogues. See you next time, and stay frosty.
Dr. Alexander Bustos